As creative agencies, our businesses are built on kick-arse strategy, strong, accessible ideas and efficient production. We can take a marketing problem and, without batting an eyelid, construct a super engaging, consumer-centred plan that works. We bring in fantastic new talent and collaborative processes to help make our solutions even more effective across changing mediascapes dominated by new digital channels and touch points. As creative agencies, our outputs are only getting better.
But a quick observation; we’re missing a trick.
While occupied with becoming more creative, creative agencies we’re not looking at the real opportunity; our partners need new creative perspectives for broader challenges in their businesses.
We hear it. Our partners, like us, are at the coalface of the massive shifts driving business in 2013. There can’t be a more challenging environment to build relationships and loyalty. We can see the issues our clients have in remaining agile, adapting and seizing opportunities. We know the old operational models aren’t as effective anymore, and we know that they’re reaching out for help and advice.
Still, as creative agencies, our role remains in supplying marketing activities to cater for new consumer habits and emerging channels. We strive to deliver creative campaigns that propel our brands forward. My point is, could we do more? Can we broaden our offering to bring creative solutions to deeper challenges our clients are facing?
Think of some of your partners. Where are the inefficiencies in their systems? Where are they hitting dead ends? Where are the opportunities for input? Who would be best placed to assist? If the role of creativity is in bringing productive originality to a problem, then surely as creative agencies we can add a lot by diversifying our network of inputs. Specialist experience in fields such as economics, psychology, sociology, HR, IT, sales and culture studies need to be applied to the cross-functional challenges we’re seeing.
Building the expertise is one issue, but opening the conversation is another. If we want to be taken seriously as a valued extension of our client’s business, we need to build trust and successes beyond marketing activity – and most agencies don’t have the runs on the board.
I learnt about the World Peace game recently and perhaps introducing a similar project for our clients’ businesses could be a way to start the process of proving value. A regular, constructive spotlight on the key drivers, opportunities and impacts for our client’s business.
I think the creative agency of now needs a serious focus on our creative service offering, and clear strategies for introducing fresh perspectives and diverse experience outside of marketing fields. Clients need help, and our agencies can only benefit from injecting new, specialist creative talent into the relationship.